Blair 'convinced Bush' not to launch strike at Al-Jazeera

From the Scotsman.com website comes an extremely disturbing headline that is likely to cause a huge furor in the United States, Middle East, Europe, and the rest of the world: Blair 'convinced Bush' not to launch strike at Al-Jazeera.

TONY BLAIR had to persuade US President George Bush not to launch a military strike on the studios of TV station Al-Jazeera.

New reports claim the two leaders debated an attack on the station which has broadcast video messages from al-Qaida head Osama bin Laden and leaders of the insurgency in Iraq, as well as clips of dead British and US soldiers.

This possible revelation (subject to proven authenticity) would validate (unfortunate) long held beliefs of the targeting of al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi and other press services. The harm to use public diplomacy is going to be beyond compare if this story is not countered with facts. Attacking the media, regardless of the offices being housed in a friendly country, Qatar, is a heinous and reprehensible statement on the democratic tradition of free media. A dichotomy that will not be lost on "America's enemies" (and friends).

Worse, this story will be more congruent with audiences with the recent public attacks and counter-attacks over charges of intelligence manipulation and increasing revelations and awareness of poor war and post-conflict planning. The Murtha exchanges and the "reprehensible comments" (MSNBC, LA Times, WashingtonPost) will simply make this story resonate all the more with an on the fence or other side of the fence audience.

Going right along with the sinking ship of the Bush Administration's credibility is the recently (17 Nov 05) announced investigation of Douglas Feith "of manipulating information".

Where does the buck stop?